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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Former LOGO reporter Itay Hod: On the hunt
Special to the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Ross Forman
2010-02-17

This article shared 5198 times since Wed Feb 17, 2010
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The memories are lasting, from reporting about the muscled hunks on the West Hollywood Water Polo team to the LGBT angle of those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Itay Hod had quite a memorable run as a reporter on Logo through its association with CBS News.

He reported on the worldwide economic crisis just a few months ago, and now he, too, is a part of the statistics.

In August, Logo—almost four years to the day after launching its newscast—cancelled its news program, leaving Hod looking for work.

"I not only was doing a job that I loved and enjoyed, but so many [ viewers ] were so thankful for the show. It was a milestone for the gay community," said Hod, an Israel native who has been living in New York City for about 15 years. "I was counting my blessings [ with the job ] ; I never got too jaded about things, lost perspective on things. It was the first and only gay newscast, and it was quite an incredible thing to be a part of.

"I cannot remember many stories that I did when I wasn't thinking, 'Wow, this is amazing that I get this access to people who otherwise wouldn't give me the time of day and yet I get to talk to them about things that actually matter to me."

People such as George Clooney, Madonna and Jennifer Aniston, among others.

Yes, it truly was a wild ride for the former paramedic in the Israeli Army.

So what's next?

"That's a good question, something that I've been asked a lot lately, and I wish I had a better answer [ for ] ," said Hod, who is still freelancing for CBS News. "It's a tough time now and I have to remind myself that it's going to be a rough road ahead, the next few months. When you find yourself out of a job, it's amazing how a lot of people will take the time to help you out; that's always very touching.

"This is not the best time to be looking for a job because of the economy, but it sure has been an amazing run."

Hod's post-Logo life has already included a CBS piece about the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. And he was on-call to cover Hurricane Bill, if it struck land.

"I keep reminding myself: I've been unemployed before and I'll probably be unemployed again. It's never fun, but I'll survive," Hod said. "I'm going to enjoy my time off [ from work ] , as much as possible, so I don't get all stressed out. Everything works out in the end. I'm going to try not to freak out this time, though I definitely feel for anyone right now out there looking for a job. I get it; I know how hard it can be."

Gay Games 2006

Hod spent 10 days in Chicago during the summer of 2006, covering Gay Games VII, an event he claims was one of his fondest memories as a reporter.

"We decided that we had to cover the Gay Games," Hod said. "We ultimately landed [ in Chicago ] right before the Opening Ceremonies and stayed for 10 days. Logo spent a lot of money on the Gay Games, but they realized it was a huge event. It was amazing. I remember when the Gay Games were in New York and the event was impressive back then, but being in Chicago in 2006 during the Games was just incredible.

"I was lucky enough to get some great sports to cover: diving, wrestling, water polo and ice hockey. I was in heaven. Every event I went to, I kept thinking, wow, they're paying me to do this."

He was one of three reporters in Chicago from the station.

"One of the most popular events at the Gay Games was water polo, especially when the WEHO [ West Hollywood ] team played. And that's obvious—they're all so unbelievably beautiful, every single one of them. They each look like they stepped out of a GQ centerfold.

"Though we were working 20-hour days at times, the Games were amazing."

Hod has been back to Chicago several times since 2006 and the Windy City never lets him down.

"Every time I've been to Chicago, and it's always been because of work, it's been incredible," he said. "Chicago is a fun, vibrant city. As a New Yorker, every other city is kind of a small town. Not Chicago."

Broadcast journalism

Hod made the jump to CBS about five years ago after a two-year stint at NY1. He knew immediately that the CBS gig was perfect.

"I just thought, here was an opportunity to do something different, groundbreaking and, my gosh, how exciting to be doing gay stories about the gay community," he said. "It was almost one of these [ job opportunities ] that, if you said no, you'd be stupid."

After all, how many gay men get an all-expenses-paid trip to an LGBT Mardi Gras in Australia? Hod did.

And he flew Down Under on the Pink Flight, a chartered all-gay flight, featuring drag queen flight attendants. "It was one of those things where you pinch yourself, wondering how/why they were paying me to do this," he said.

The Logo gig lasted four years, "and I have nothing but incredible, incredible memories."

More about Itay Hod...

—Hobbies: Hod watches movies and plays; works out; and reads. "I'm always reading two or three books at the same time," he said. "I try not to go into bookstores to much because every time I go in, I buy 10 or 15 [ more ] books."

—Little-known fact: Uses facial cream at night

—Status: Hod is single. "I haven't dated anyone since, oh, Bill and Hillary [ Clinton ] were having sex [ in the White House ] , and I'm not sure why that is," he said, laughing. "People often think that because you're on TV that it'd be easy getting dates. But actually, I find it just as hard as before I was on TV. [ Being on TV ] has done nothing for my dating life."

—On dating: "I'm not desperate. I will not date anyone until I know that it's the right thing. When they walk into a room and you skip a beat, that's when you know."

—Dream man: "My standards have gotten really low lately," he said, laughing. "I think, as long as they have a job … and they have to be able to make me laugh every once in a while and you have to be able to tell me a good story at the end of the day. Hey, if you work at McDonald's and have a great story every day, yes, I'll be open to dating you."

—Desirable traits: "I like them tall; that's my only real requirement. And I don't know why that is. They cannot be tall enough for me. There's something about tall people that I really find fascinating. Maybe it's because I'm not that tall and always wanted to be taller." Hod is 5'10."

—Favorite books: The Hours by Michael Cunningham and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

—Favorite movies: Cinema Paradiso & The Bicycle Thief

—Favorite play: The Dollhouse

—Favorite actor: Ryan Gosling

—Favorite actress: It's Meryl Streep. "I got to interview her and that was the highlight of my life," he said. "It was one of those moments where you're thinking, 'Wow, I must have done something right because I'm sitting here with Meryl Streep asking her questions. It was like have an audience with the Pope."

—Favorite newscasters: Brian Williams and Katie Couric

—Favorite sport: Basketball to watch, tennis to play

—Favorite team: New York Yankees

—Favorite athlete: It's Michael Phelps, by far, "for all the obvious reasons. … He activates my yummy."


This article shared 5198 times since Wed Feb 17, 2010
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